Friday, October 2, 2015

Mass Shootings vs Urban Violence

Yesterday's mass shooting in Oregon has led to a wave of new stories showing mass shootings in the US, prompting front page headlines. At the same time, constant violence is generating front page headlines in Chicago. Are these the same? Should they be discussed in one big conversation? Or are there different root causes, which need to have in-depth conversations? What information is available?

My Facebook and Twitter feed are full of stories about the mass shooting in Oregon, pointing out how this has become an epidemic across the USA. A few sites are using maps to show where these incidents have taken place. This Mass Shootings in US since 1966 report is one. Here's an analysis of data on this map, from the MotherJones site.

Here's another site with a good analysis of mass killings. Note that both of these map analysis reports do not focus on gang involved shootings/killings. I looked for maps showing gang involved shootings in the US. Here is a WBEZ map analysis showing gun violence in Chicago from 2002-2012. Here's another site that seems to include both mass killings and gang related gun violence across the country.

If you are motivated to get more involved, visiting these sites, then inviting friends, family, etc. to also visit the sites, would be a good start.

While mass shootings hit randomly in different towns/cities, they do not occur daily in the same town/city the way shootings do in Chicago and other cities., While access to guns is a common factor, root causes and possible solutions may differ.

Can you point to web sites where these similarities and/or differences are being discussed?

I collect and archive information like this on blogs and in the Tutor/Mentor Connection web library so that others can read and begin discussion causes and solutions without needing to do the searching for articles.

I support volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs that engage adults who don't live in poverty because those adults are a form of bridging social capital that can open doors to aspirations and opportunities beyond what urban youth see modeled every day in their own neighborhoods. However, I also view these programs as a strategy for engaging adults who don't live with the same daily challenges, such as daily shootings that terrorize even those who are not the targets. Unless we find ways to engage more people on a personal, self-interested level, I don't think we'll ever generated to public will to build sustained, long-term solutions to urban poverty, and urban violence.

I think the mass shootings plaguing the country have a different root cause, and possibly, a different set of solutions. What they have in common is an easy access to guns and ammunition. Take that away and the conversation is different.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Resources for Community Development Planning

This blog, and the Tutor/Mentor Blog, are primarily focused on helping mentor-rich, non-school, volunteer-based tutoring, mentoring and learning programs grow in areas of high poverty. By "grow" we mean first, there needs to be some organizational structure/team that operates a youth program in an area of the city and suburbs where such programs are needed. Second, we mean such a program is able to attract talent and resources, and is constantly learning from its own results, and from what others share on their own web sites. Third, such programs engage youth, volunteers and community members in on-going efforts to understand WHY such programs are needed, and WAYS the program and its members can help the youth in their programs move more successfully through school, and into adult lives. That means we want the result of what we do to help kids be working in jobs with livable wages once they are entering their mid-twenties.

There are many stories on the Tutor/Mentor Blog that point to information related to these goals. Most of the stories on this blog focus on uses of maps to make sure programs are available in all the neighborhoods where they are most needed. Many stories also show uses of concept maps, as a tool for communicating ideas and strategy.

Below is one resource that we've made available to planners. In this pdf the number of youth, age 6-17, who are under the poverty level, are shown. Thus, if a neighborhood has 1000 kids in poverty, it might need 20 tutor/mentor programs that each serve 50 kids to serve 100% of those kids. That's not a realistic expectation, but having no programs or just a few, is an undesirable level of program availability.

Chicago Community Areas_Youth in Poverty Analysis by Daniel F. Bassill

If you follow the links on the side of this blog, and scroll through stories written since 2011 you'll see that I point to other mapping platforms. The Program Locator that the Tutor/Mentor Connection created in 2008 only shows known tutor/mentor programs, and uses poverty data and school performance information to show indicators of where programs are needed. It also has a section showing assets, such as banks, drug stores, faith groups, colleges and hospitals, who could be part of neighborhood planning groups in different community areas. Unfortunately, I've not been able to update this since 2010, and recently error codes on the database make the site un-usable. I'm looking for help to fix this.

That means the other mapping platforms I point to need to be used to create map stories showing where tutor/mentor programs are needed, and you'll need to add your own information showing existing (if any) programs already operating. The Chicago Programs Links library is one resource you might use to identify programs you could add to your map.

I keep finding new mapping resources. When I do, I write a blog article, like I am now. And also add the resource to this section of my web library.

Today I was browsing through the Quality of Life Planning section on the LISC-Chicago web site and found this Chicago Neighborhoods 2015 page on the Chicago Community Trust web site. This points to a City of Chicago’s 2013 Citywide Retail Market Analysis, which divides the city into 16 business districts.

For each district there is a map, along with demographic and business data. Community planners could use these maps, along with my maps, and map views created using other platforms, to build a case for more non-school tutoring, mentoring, learning, jobs and recreation programs, along with a strategy of engagement, identifying assets and leaders who need to be involved in building on-going visibility and a consistent flow of funding to the neighborhood, to support the growth of all of the organizations that planners show are needed.

If you know of other resources like this please share. More importantly, if you know of ways communities are connecting on-line for deeper learning and more frequent interaction, complementing the on-the ground planning and traditional meetings, share that information, too.

If you're an organizer, or a teacher, I encourage you to use stories like this to stimulate discussion of work that needs to be done to make neighborhoods safe and great places to raise kids and build families.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Chicago Shooting Victims - Map

View this map on the Chicago Tribune web site to see where shooting victims are concentrated in Chicago. Use other maps on this blog to see where poverty is most concentrated, and to create map stories showing the link between high poverty and high violence. Then use the ideas shared on the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC site to build strategies that make hope and opportunity more available in each of these neighborhoods.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Mapping Social Media Networks - NodeXL Tutorial

During a Friday Twitter session I met Marc Smith of the Social Media Research Foundation, which has created an open source tool caled NodeXL, which can map Social media conversations. I gave him a list of hashtags, and he produced the map below.

For this graphic, I asked Marc to track these hashtags: #mybrotherskeeper OR #afameducation OR #gradnation OR #educationnation OR #achievementgap OR #ednation OR #skills_gap OR #oppindex OR #amgrad OR #gangviolence OR #globalcities2015 OR #blackmaleachievement OR #disconnectedyouth OR #placematters OR #endchildpoverty

If you open the map you can click into an interactive version. Zoom in and you can run your mouse over each node to identify the people who retweeted or commented on one of the above hashtags over the identified time frame. The report included with the map shows key influencers, or hubs, which are people at the center of clusters with numerous other nodes. The report also includes a list of the top 10 influencers. Thus, if you're building your network you might want to follow, or retweet, these people.

On Sept 7 I requested a second NodeXL map. Here's the link. This map looks at hashtags with #tutor OR #mentor OR #tutormentor OR #mentoring OR #tutoring.

I'm still trying to figure out how to make sense of this, and to learn how this can be used to help build and sustain networks of people and organizations focused on solving complex problems, but decided that you could learn along with me if I share the links that Mark shared on Friday.

Network insights into social media:

Slides - this is long. I think the last few slides, showing how this analysis helps you identify people to follow and strategies for building your own network, are of great value.

Video The video covers the material in the slides.

Mapping Twitter Topic Networks (click here) - article on Pew Research Center Site. This article offers a great deal of clarity to what you're seeing when you look at one of the NodeXL map.

NodeXL code and discussion page:

Social Media Research Foundation Blog Please see:

Marc's been creating maps for the #blacklivesmatter hashtag. As you build your understanding of how to interpret and use these maps, you'll find a whole gallery to review.

I've been interested in Social Network Analysis (see page) for many years and formed this group in my Tutor/Mentor Connection forum in 2010 to support interns and volunteers aiding me in mapping participation in conferences that I've hosted. Understanding your network is the first step toward building your network, and bringing together communities of people who might share time, talent, ideas and resources to help close the inequality and opportunity gaps in America. Visit the Tutor/Mentor blog and you can find many article I've posted about network building, network analysis and networking.

My goal is that the work we're doing will be duplicated by others who organize and host their own events and the result will be more people connecting, and staying connected, to information, each other, and complex problems that require long-term involvement in solutions. It looks like NodeXL and the Social Media Research Foundation offer some exciting support for this effort.

If you've written anything showing how to understand and apply NodeXL please share with a comment below. I'd like to build up a collection of links that can be referred to by others on an on-going basis. As I collect additional articles I'll add them to the comment section below so this becomes a long-term reference document.

If you'd like to request a NodeXL maps from Marc, use this page to submit your request.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Mapping the Opportunity Gap - GatewatytoCollege

Just found this Gateway To College map.

I'll reach out with an introduction. Hopefully some of the ideas I share here and on the Tutor/Mentor Blog will be used in their own efforts.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

2010 Census data on interactive map

This just came across my Twitter feed. Open the link and you'll find a map of the USA, with the 2010 census data plotted, and color coded for different racial groups. It clearly shows how big cities around the country have the greatest concentrations of minorities, and the greatest challenges of race and inequality issues.